Wairarapa olive growers shine in national awards

The Best in Show trophy is presented by Esteban Santipolio (left) Head Judge from Argentina to Kate and Mark Bunny of Loopline Olives, Wairarapa.
The Best in Show trophy is presented by Esteban Santipolio (left) Head Judge from Argentina to Kate and Mark Bunny of Loopline Olives, Wairarapa. Photo credit: Supplied

Wairarapa olive oils have taken out the main prizes in the sector's national awards, also dominating the medla tally.

The New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Awards are run by Olives New Zealand, the national organisation for olive oil growers.

Loopline Olives from Wairarapa took out the 2018 Best in Show as well as Best in Class in the Commercial Medium Single Varietal Class with their Loopline Picholene. 

Loopline also took out Reserve Best in Show with their Loopline Picual which was Best in Class in the Commercial Intense Single Varietal Class.

The judging panel of six  describing Loopline Picholene has having "delicious aromas of green herbs and salad leaves on the nose, rocket leaves and artichoke on the palate, a clean and light mouthfeel with excellent flavour transfer."

"There is a hint of mustard and chilli overtone with a warm lingering finish, overall an excellent oil," they said.

Loopline Olives is owned by Mark and Kate Bunny and is a medium sized grove of approximately 900 trees established in 2001. This is the 3rd time that Loopline Olives has won the supreme award, having taken out the top award also in 2014 and 2017.

Juno Olives from Wairarapa also did the double.

They won the Best in Boutique Category for growers who produce less than 250 litres of certified extra virgin olive oil, as well as Best in Class in the Boutique Intense Single Varietal Class with their Juno Picual. Plus they also won Reserve Best Boutique with their Juno Koroneiki. Juno Olives also won Beat in Boutique in 2017 with their Picual.

Best Flavoured Oil was won by The Olive Press, Wairarapa with their Pressed Gold – Lime Infused. This is the second year running that The Olive Press have won this award.

Medals were spread across New Zealand’s growing regions with 46 going to Wairarapa, 12 to Canterbury,11 to Kapiti, 9 to Auckland, 8 to Nelson, 6 each to Hawke’s Bay and Northland, 5 to Waiheke Island, 3 to Marlborough, 2 to Central Otago and 1 to Bay of Plenty. This equated to 28 Gold Medals, 77 Silver Medals and 4 Bronze Medals, a total of 109 medals.

Head Judge, Esteban Santipolio from Argentina was impressed with the quality of the oils entered in New Zealand’s top olive oil awards. 

"I have been involved in the assessment of olive oils at international competitions this year, including the prestigious New York International. The oils entered in the New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards are some of the best extra virgin olive oils I have tasted this season. They have been a delight to judge," he said.

As a condition of entry all entrants must have been formally assessed as extra virgin olive oil and carry the OliveMark

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